Alex is employed as Head of Education, Inclusion and Participation at Migrant Help, UK. He is a researcher, trainer, speaker and Country Expert Witness and analyst (Great Lakes Region of Africa). He is author of the book "Not My Worst Day" and co-author of "Education in A Diverse UK".
Read on to discover why he is a leader…
Country of birth:
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
The African countries visited:
Lived and worked in Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Uganda. I visited Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ethiopia, South Africa and Djibouti
English, French, Swahili, Kinyarwanda and Lingala
African dialects spoken or understood:
Luganda, Kifuleru, Kinyamulenge and Kibembe
Your family background:
I was born into a family of cattle-herders, semi-nomadic, pastoralist people in South Kivu in the DRC. My childhood was a happy one. I enjoyed helping my mum to fetch water miles away from our village, swimming in the rivers, searching for honey bees in the savanna and beautiful lush and greenery land, gathering nuts, berries and fruits from the trees in forests.
Tell us something about your leadership roles (employed and voluntary):
My hunger for education took me to a school in a place called Uvira. Here countless incidents of xenophobia and violence were directed against me as a member of the minority Banyamulenge ethnic group (also sometimes known as ‘Tutsi Congolese’) in the DRC. Later I had to flee to Rwanda where I witnessed the end of the 1994 genocide and subsequent violence fuelled by Tutsi and Hutu’s. Afterwards I became involved in humanitarian work for UN related NGOs, including coordinating an orphanage for children who survived genocide.
I was determined to do something about young people involved in armed conflict and joined an organisation committed to stopping the use of child Soldiers. I finally came to the UK, where I underwent a stringent asylum process and major culture and language barriers.
I went to college and university gaining an MA in Anthropology of Conflict, Violence and Conciliation. I have written wide range of research articles related to International development, I am author of the “Not My Worst Day” about my life in Rwanda and DRC, and the Education in Diverse UK, a book that offers guidance on how to address the issues affecting refugees and migrants and to promote a values-based education approach.
What recent (in the last 3 years) achievement are you proud of and why:
I was director of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), a global movement against the arms trade. We jointly and successfully campaigned to achieve an Arms Trade Treaty.
I have been consulted as expert advice and speaker at many international conferences and research centres/universities, including the UN, offering honest insights into issues of migration, community cohesion, war and human security, cultural insensitivity and conflict resolution.
A few words of advice to young leaders (age five-eleven) in the African Diaspora:
- Always accept the support, love and care of friends and family who give you hope. This background has been the inspiration for my new life.
- You are the best and you are going to change the world for the better but only if you value education and use these magic things: kindness, friendship, respect, care, love, compassion to all and knowledge.